Does Car Insurance Cover Damage from Tornadoes?

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She works as an associate editor and writer for for over a year and enjoys creating content that offers expert advice on car insurance topics.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs...

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Reviewed byLeslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Tornadoes are common in certain parts of the country. When a tornado strikes, it can cause devastating effects to people, communities, and property – including vehicles. Can you expect your car insurance to cover tornado damage? Or are you forced to pay for tornado damage out of pocket? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about how car insurance covers tornado damage.

Comprehensive Coverage Policies Cover Tornado Damage

car insurance cover tornado damageWhether your car is damaged in a hurricane, a tornado, a windstorm, or any other natural disaster, it will typically be covered under your comprehensive coverage policy.

Comprehensive coverage is an optional auto insurance policy that covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle if it’s damaged during a non-accident-related event. If your vehicle is damaged during a tornado, then the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle can be claimed under your comprehensive auto insurance policy.

After the tornado strikes, your insurance company will send you a check covering the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. If your vehicle has minor damage, then you’ll receive a check to cover the costs of repairing the vehicle. Your vehicle’s windshield may be damaged by falling debris during a tornado, for example. If your vehicle has significant damage, however, then your insurance company might declare your vehicle to be totaled. In this situation, your insurance company will send you a check covering the actual cash value of the vehicle.

Ultimately, whether your car is damaged during a tornado, a hurricane, or a heavy windstorm, your vehicle should be covered by insurance as long as you have comprehensive coverage.

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Do You Need Comprehensive Coverage?

Not all vehicles have comprehensive coverage. If you have basic liability car insurance – the bare minimum required to legally drive on the road – then you will not be covered against tornado damage. Basic liability car insurance covers damage to other property and people during an at-fault accident, but it does not cover your own vehicle. Collision coverage, meanwhile, covers your own vehicle during an accident, but it doesn’t cover non-accident-related incidents like a tornado.

Comprehensive coverage can ensure you’re fully protected against all types of unexpected events. Some of the things covered by comprehensive coverage include:

Typically, when making a claim under your comprehensive coverage, you will need to pay a deductible. Then, the insurance company will give you a check covering the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.

Comprehensive coverage may be required in certain situations. Anyone who is leasing or financing a vehicle, for example, is typically required to have comprehensive coverage.

Check your insurance policy’s declarations page to determine if you have comprehensive coverage. Generally, it’s in your best interest to have comprehensive coverage if you have a newer vehicle. Without comprehensive coverage, you could be left paying for significant costs out of pocket – especially if your car is damaged by a tornado.

Types of Tornado Damage Covered by Comprehensive Coverage

Tornados can affect vehicles in all different ways. Typically, if your vehicle is struck directly by a tornado, then your vehicle will be severely damaged or totaled. In this case, your insurance company will send you a payment equal to the actual cash value of your vehicle. If your vehicle was worth $15,000, then you will receive a check for $15,000 (minus your deductible payment).

In other cases, a tornado may not strike your vehicle directly. A tornado might cause debris or tree branches to strike your vehicle, for example, and break your windshield. Your car isn’t totaled, but it still needs to be repaired. In this situation, your car insurance company will cover the cost of repairing your vehicle.

Other types of tornado damage that may be covered by comprehensive insurance include:

  • Hail
  • Wind damage
  • Flooding
  • Flying debris
  • Falling tree branches
  • Gravel, rocks, and other small flying particles
  • Downed power lines and electrical damage

If a tornado passes near you, then it can pick up your vehicle and slam it back to the ground. Tornadoes can pick up vehicles and drop them in a different part of town. Even if a tornado doesn’t directly strike your vehicle, it can cause gravel and other debris to fling towards your vehicle, causing significant damage to your vehicle’s body.

Conclusion: Comprehensive Coverage Policies Typically Cover Tornado Damage

Ultimately, most comprehensive coverage policies will cover tornado damage. If your vehicle is damaged during a tornado, a hurricane, a windstorm, or any other type of natural disaster, then the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle should be covered by your car insurance policy. Check your auto insurance declarations page or contact your car insurance company to ensure you have comprehensive coverage and are protected against tornado damage.

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